NPT’s Human Spirit Award is presented each year to a Nashville Film Festival documentary selection and acknowledges a filmmaker’s work that best explores and captures the human spirit. The film must illuminate in a high artistic manner the important characteristics of what it means to be human: generosity, kindness, mercy, compassion, fortitude and honor. This year’s award went to Swim Team and was presented to director Lara Stolman and producer Shanna Belott on Sunday, April 23, during the 48th NaFF at the Regal Hollywood Stadium 27.
Swim Team chronicles the extraordinary rise of three diverse young athletes on the Jersey Hammerheads, a competitive swim team for teens on the autism spectrum. The kids are trained with high expectations and zero pity and Swim Team captures their moving quest for inclusion, independence and a sense of winning. Swim Team will air on an upcoming season of POV, PBS’s series of independent documentaries.
The NPT Human Spirit Award jury consisted of Kevin Crane, vice president of programming and technology; Justin Harvey, director of content; Sheila Fischer, director of development; Linda Wei, director of digital strategies; and Jessica Turk, assistant program manager.